A huge complex with multiple bars. Big inside and outside area, serve yourself. No tasters but it is cheap, so that helps. Service was good at the bar. Didn’t eat, didn’t even see a menu. Lots of different beers on, and they even tell you what are brewpub only. Very crowded, and I think those crowds are always there.
It’s a big place with a comfortable biergarden type of feel. Unfortunately the service wasn’t very attentive and there were so many people there that it felt very touristy and was uncomfortable to move. I’d only visit again very early in the day before the huge crowds show up.
Drake (831) Milwaukee, Wisconsin | July 22, 2010| Updated July 28, 2010
The first stop of my Ratebeer Summer Gathering Experience, and oh, what a nice way to start. This place was packed and even though I generally don’t like large crowds, I did like the ambience here. The crowd was chill, even though the space was huge it still felt cozy enough. The tour provided by one of the co-owners was awesome... very informative. The beers were top notch. I didn’t try the food. Parking was OK. Prices were good. The bartenders were happy to provide samples, and the prices for full pours aren’t bad. Top notch beer stop. Highly recommended.
The inside is a wide open space with loads of tables, a long bar and a window at wich to order food. The beer selection is solid of course, but I would’ve liked more rarities. Can’t complain I guess. Service was really friendly and attentive. There’s a cool merch store but I was here too late to shop there.
Great vibe, nice porch outside, amazing beers. when it’s not too screaming busy, the servers are cool with giving lots of samples. Beers are amazing--maybe the best portfolio of beers in one place I had ever found.
Very nice brewpub. One of the nicest brewpubs of the big breweries I’ve visited in the US. Good selection of beers. Good food. OK service. Parking was bit of a problem but there’s no problem money can’t solve... Gift shop was a disappointment.
With Founders and Hopcat in walking distance, Grand Rapids is solidly on the map as a go-to place. Beautiful place, with light everywhere, a good temperature, a friendly gang to serve, and of course outstanding beer. I had, and had to have, four aged barrelled beers on tap. Need another reason to visit? Also, had a chance to try a fifth barrelled beer not on tap. Not overwhelming in the bottle department, I found harder to get bottles in some of the stores.
I frankly don’t understand the praise this place received. Perhaps I was not the luckiest, but the 2-3 beers that were on and not widely distributed in bottles were not particularly interesting. While many of their regulars are indeed interesting, the ugliness of the area, spacious, noisy like a big modern cafeteria atmosphere and certainly not aimed at having a lot of character. The prices are very good though, but I’d rather drink Founders in a beer bar I enjoy being in. Neglectable service as you need to go to the counter and they don’t seem to really be interested in a conversation with you when you do.
At the end of the day...any craftbeer tour of Michigan begins and ends with Founders and Bell’s...that doesn’t mean they are the best Michigan has to offer (although they might be)...and either and both have likely held that title...its just that there are so many great up and comers (love Greenbush and Dark Horse)...but given their history...and their amazing venues and large amount of beers...they both deserve a lot of kudos. My first trip to Founders was hardly a disappointment...quite on the contrary it met all of my expectations. We visited this past Saturday...and found the venue to be impressive...loved the beers of course...and their were many...but I’d had many of them over the years given Founders size and breath of distribution. There was a "really" good live band (reasonable $5 cover charge) and the several rooms...and outdoor spaces made Founders a cool place to hang out at. I liked that the age mix was a broad spectrum. At the end of the day I’m starting to like the smaller and more eclectic craftbeer venues (Michigan’s Greenbush would be an excellent example...see my review)...but Founders does the big craftbrewery thing very well. Definitely a must visit while in Grand Rapids.